Read that title again. Sounds off, right? To be honest, we’re not that difficult to work with. We’re available pretty much all the time, we deliver what we say we will – oftentimes more – and we take our clients’ success personally (no one is just a number here).
Clients find us for many reasons – they know they need social media marketing but they don’t know how to do it, they don’t have anyone who has time to do it or they’ve tried to handle it internally and it’s just not getting done. So they find us.
When they first call, they’re excited, sometimes relieved – they want to get going right away.
We don’t usually get going right away though. There’s a period of time we need to get to know the brand and to strategize on what’s already working and where we need to start first to make sure our campaigns begin successfully. This works best when the client can just take a moment with us to breathe and let us get to know the nuances of the brand. We get it, they’re happy to have found someone to deal with this for them and they want it off their shoulders right away (they also want results right away – but that’s another blogpost).
Once we dig in and begin, we appreciate direction from the client. We need to know the details of the business (what are the policies of the company, who are the key players, who are people with whom we do not want to be connected). Typically, our clients can exhale for a minute while we’re learning all of this. They ask questions, they answer questions, and we get rolling. We enjoy the camaraderie of a team, we appreciate the direction that has been planned out to include not just what we’re doing on social, but what’s happening with advertising, pr and editorial.
So what’s the problem?
The challenge is with our atypical client. These are the clients who consistently are not consistent. They call us and change the strategy every other day. And when we direct them on the types of content to share, they disagree. When we share with a client that their engagement numbers are down and the only thing that changed in content is that we started doing exactly what they demanded we do, they tell us we’re wrong. They say they know better, it’s their business.
Yes. You are right. It IS your business. You understand the ins and outs of making food or building products or selling dresses. As a customer of your establishment, I don’t feel comfortable advising you on the details of running that business. As I’ve always said, our business is specialized. We focus in on social media – the technologies, the tactics and the metrics – and that’s all we do. So when we have a client looking to us for “expert”-level advice (and I use quotes because, really, how many of us would be so presumptuous as to call ourselves an “expert”) and then turn around and flat out refuse to listen, that’s the first sign we know things are going ary.
I’m not saying we know everything, we certainly don’t. But we’ve been hired to provide strategic advice and act on it. So the clients that I feel are the most frustrated are those who aren’t really ready to outsource in the first place. If you aren’t able to let go a little bit and listen to those you’ve put on your team to advise you, then perhaps outsourcing isn’t for you.
Here’s my free advice to those companies who aren’t capable of trusting someone enough to outsource to them: don’t do it. Learn how to manage your social yourself – learn what the rules are, what the best practices are and make them happen. But don’t hire someone and then turn around and not work with them. If you can’t be ok with outsourcing, just don’t.by